APRU Esports Fellowship Program 3rd Cohort provides ample food for thought on well-being, networking, and universities’ future role
August 18, 2023
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The last session of APRU Esports Fellowship Program 3rd Cohort took place on July 28, marking one month of experts and students successfully engaging in next-generation learning experiences and supporting the growth of healthy and vibrant Esports communities.

Led by Tecnológico de Monterrey, the 3rd Cohort recorded 37 participants from 12 APRU member universities and nine different economies. Each APRU member was invited to nominate five undergraduate students to create an immediate and lasting impact on student communities, while also cultivating an alumni network that is accretive to both the fellowship and APRU Esports participating universities.

The first session of the Fellowship focused on “Well-being in Esports”. Carlos Ordóñez, National AVP, Student Wellbeing at Tec de Monterrey, shared his recent research findings on stressors and coping strategies. According to Mr. Ordóñez, one of the main issues is that some Esports team members are not taking practice as seriously as others. Another challenge is maintaining a good life balance when working towards a professional Esports career.

“Not getting enough sleep is a problem that we see in terms of well-being all over the world, and we also see that gamers who work towards a professional career struggle with coping with social media criticism,” Mr. Ordóñez said.

Mr Ordóñez during his presentation

“Coping strategies range from spending a few minutes in the garden to a cognitive reevaluation of a situation to reduce its perceived importance,” he added.

Dr. Ramón Flores, Doctor of Chiropractic, shared insights on common health risks associated with Esports. Dr. Flores explained that although the spinal column constitutes the continuation of the brain, gamers often neglect the importance of the spinal column’s health.

The program’s second session was themed “Networking with Esports Companies”. Terence Leung, Senior Manager, Digital Entertainment, Cyberport, introduced Cyberport’s cluster of digital companies, including several game developers and art creators, with Mr. Leung’s team supporting the entire ecosystem from the upstream to the downstream companies.

Charles Fauchet, co-founder of KIX Esports, a Macao-based entrepreneur of Esports, shared his entrepreneurial journey and how KIX came into being by organizing a tournament with the University of Macau in 2017.

“Whereas developing a game requires a lot of funds, creating Esports teams and tournaments was a feasible way of helping Macao’s diversification strategy,” Mr. Fauchet said.

In the final session under the theme “The Future of Esports in the Universities; Academic Options and Scholarships,” panelists shared their perspectives on the development of Esports in their respective universities and locations. Glen Tokola, Esports Manager of the University of Washington, explained how the university’s Esports program now caters to approximately 3,000 active gamers.

“It was a three-year window, which is an incredibly fast time for any given program within the University of Washington to occur, showing that there was enough of a vision and support from leadership.” Mr. Tokola said.

Dr. Yupei Zhao, Professor, Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University, shared insights about Esports development in China. Dr. Zhao pointed out that this year is a big year for Esports in Zhejiang Province because Esports will be included in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in September-October.

Finally, Jennifer Seto, Esports Program Manager of Simon Fraser University, explained the state of play for Esports in Canada. Ms. Seto pointed out that although the US constitutes a larger market, Canada has many standout schools that are competing at the top internationally.

The online sessions of the fellowship had an interactive part via breakout rooms, where students had the opportunity to get to know each other, engage, debate, and learn about the development and status of Esports on their campuses.

Fellowship participants during one of the sessions

The overall feedback collected after the fellowship was very positive, with the program exciding the expectations of the majority of the participants and with the participants sharing their appreciation for these kinds of activities:

 “What I’ve learned from this Fellowship is that there’s a lot more Esports out there around the world. It was such a great opportunity for me to connect with people not only in the US but internationally such as Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore. That is probably one of the coolest things I have been a part of…”

Garret Lau, University of Hawai’i at West Oahu

The APRU Esports Fellowship Program 3rd Cohort concluded with the submission, by each participating university, of a final project. This project was the creation of a video showcasing the establishment, development, and impact of Esports on their campus.

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